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When Is Delayed Diagnosis Considered Medical Malpractice?Doctors are required to complete rigorous degree programs and training before becoming licensed physicians. They learn about the signs and symptoms of countless medical conditions so they can diagnose these conditions and provide the necessary treatment. However, doctors are not always able to pinpoint the exact cause of a person’s health concerns. It may take dozens of diagnostic tests and procedures before the person has an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, doctors and specialists are not able to determine the cause of a patient’s symptoms. While not every diagnostic mistake is the result of negligence, there are some situations in which a doctor’s failure to make a timely and accurate diagnosis is considered medical malpractice.  

Doctors Have a Duty to Provide Reasonably Skilled Medical Care

Doctors and other medical professionals have a legal obligation to provide reasonably proficient medical treatment. They are not expected to be perfect, but they are expected to be competent. The question of whether or not a diagnostic mistake is flagrant enough to be considered malpractice is often very difficult to answer. Medical malpractice attorneys have a variety of tools and resources at their disposal that are used to investigate doctors’ actions and inaction and determine if malpractice occurred. To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, a medical malpractice attorney must prove that:

  • A doctor-patient relationship was established.
  • The doctor provided treatment that did not meet the medical standard of care
  • The doctor’s failure to provide quality care caused the patient harm
  • The patient suffered damages as a result of this harm

The standard of medical care is a hypothetical measuring stick used to determine if a doctor’s actions deviated from what a typical doctor of similar status would have done under similar circumstances. Expert testimony from respected medical professionals is often used during a medical malpractice lawsuit to shed light on the reasonableness of a doctor’s actions.

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Can I Sue a Pharmacy for a Prescription Medication Error?When you get a medication prescription from the doctor and have it filled at your local pharmacy, you probably trust the pharmacy staff to do their jobs accurately. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is estimated that 1.3 million people are injured by medication mistakes in the United States every year. While some of these errors are minor and do not cause harm to the patient, others result in hospitalization and death. If you or a loved one were the victim of a pharmacy error, a medical malpractice claim may help you recover compensation.

Common Pharmacy Errors

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are responsible for ensuring that patients receive the medications that their doctors have prescribed them. In addition to dispensing medications, they also review prescriptions for accuracy, check for drug interactions, and explain medication directions to patients. When a pharmacy worker makes a mistake during any of these steps, the patient can suffer serious harm. Some of the most common pharmacy errors include:

  • Dispensing the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage of the medication
  • Mislabeling medications
  • Dispensing medication with an incorrect delivery method
  • Failing to provide adequate information about the use of medication
  • Failing to warn the patient about side effects or risks of using the medication
  • Failing to account for potential drug interactions with other medications or allergies
  • Failing to ask about other medications or allergies before dispensing the medication
  • Failing to confirm prescription information with the physician if the prescription is difficult to read or contains inaccurate information

Consequences of Prescription Medication Errors

If a person receives the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a medication, he or she may not realize it until he or she starts experiencing symptoms. Depending on the type of medication and the person’s medical conditions, a medication error can cause the person’s existing medical condition to worsen and may also result in new medical problems. A serious medication error may even be fatal. Pharmacy prescription errors can result in problems that require hospitalization and extensive medical care. Through a pharmacy malpractice claim, a medication error victim may be entitled to compensation for his or her medical expenses, lost income due to missed work, pain and suffering, and more.

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What Types of Birth Injuries Can Be Caused by Hypoxia?While a baby is still in the womb, oxygen is delivered to the infant via the placenta and umbilical cord. One of the most critical times during the birth process is the baby’s transition to breathing on his or her own. When problems occur during this transition, the baby may receive too little oxygen. Hypoxia, or inadequate oxygen, can lead to a number of devastating birth injuries as well as death.

What Complications Can Lead to Hypoxia?

Hypoxia is often caused when a problem with the baby’s umbilical cord reduces the oxygen available to him or her. Nuchal umbilical cord occurs when the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck. A short umbilical cord or knotted umbilical cord can also cause hypoxia. Umbilical cord prolapse occurs when the cord drops through the mother’s cervix and reduces blood flow to the baby. Placental abruption occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus. This can not only deprive the baby of oxygen but may also cause dangerously heavy bleeding in the mother. The use of forceps has also been shown to sometimes cause hypoxia.

Hypoxia Can Cause Life-Altering Injuries

Doctors should be aware of the risk factors associated with hypoxia as well as the warning signs that a baby is not receiving enough oxygen. If swift action to correct low oxygen is not taken, the baby may develop:

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Can I Bring a Medical Malpractice Claim Against My Chiropractor?Chiropractic medicine primarily concerns the diagnosis and treatment of disorders involving the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors may use a variety of techniques including manual manipulation of the spine and soft tissues to relieve pain, restore mobility, and promote wellness. This particular field of medicine is often the subject of controversy and debate. Some people swear by the relief chiropractic treatment gives them while others believe the practice to be little more than pseudoscience. If you or a loved one were injured by a chiropractor, you may wonder whether or not you have a valid medical malpractice claim.

Injuries That May Be Caused by Negligent Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic treatment often involves the chiropractor using his or her hands or instruments to apply force to joints and muscle tissue. These treatments, called “adjustments,” are typically intended to relieve back pain and stiffness, neck pain, headaches, and other physical ailments. However, some patients find that chiropractic care actually worsens their conditions or creates new health problems. In fact, one study suggested 30 to 61 percent of all chiropractic patients experience some type of adverse effects from the treatment. Chiropractic adjustment may cause problems including but not limited to:

  • Vertebral artery dissection that can lead to a stroke
  • Herniated disc or worsening of an existing herniated disc
  • Compression of the nerves in the lower spine (cauda equina syndrome)

When is a Chiropractor Liable for a Patient’s Injury?

Although they are not medical doctors, chiropractors still have a legal obligation to provide competent medical treatment to patients. Most medical malpractice claims are based upon professional negligence. A chiropractor may be considered negligent if he or she:

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What Causes a Baby To Suffer From Hypoxia?The birth of a new child should be one of the happiest moments of a person’s life. Sadly, many babies suffer from birth injuries that cause serious, often permanent problems. One issue that can happen during birth is hypoxia, which is inadequate oxygen. When a baby does not receive enough oxygen to his or her brain, there can be debilitating brain damage that causes severe impairment. In some cases, hypoxia-related injuries are a result of medical malpractice. If you have reason to believe that medical negligence played a role in your child’s birth injury, contact an experienced attorney to learn about your legal options.

Factors That May Increase the Risk of Neonatal Hypoxia

The human brain needs a steady flow of oxygen in order to function properly. When an infant’s brain does not receive enough oxygen before, during, or after delivery, the brain can become severely damaged. Doctors and nurses should be aware of the risk factors for hypoxia and the warning signs that a baby may be suffering from hypoxia so that swift corrective action can be taken to prevent brain damage. Some of the most common risk factors for hypoxia include:

  • Prolonged or traumatic delivery
  • Umbilical cord injuries
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Placental insufficiency and placental abruption
  • Excessive hemorrhaging during pregnancy or delivery
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Infection

Even if an infant is deprived of oxygen, brain damage and other permanent effects may be avoided through medical treatments such as hypo-or-hyperthermia management, cooling therapy, fluid management, and ventilation. If hypoxia progresses into brain injury, the infant may develop cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, cognitive impairment, and other serious disorders.

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When is a Doctor or Medical Facility Liable for an Infant’s Death?The birth of a child should be one of the greatest days of a person’s life. However, when something goes wrong during the birth and the infant passes away, it can become the worst day of the parents’ lives. Losing a child under any circumstances is heartbreaking, but when that death could have been prevented, the heartbreak is even more excruciating. If medical negligence contributed to the death of an infant, the parents may bring a medical malpractice claim against the medical staff or the facility itself.

Who Is at Fault for the Death?

Sadly, sometimes a baby dies during or shortly after birth and there is nothing that could have been done to save him or her. Not every infant death is the result of medical negligence or wrongdoing. Medical negligence occurs when a doctor or other medical professional does not fulfill his or her “duty of care.” Medical staff members have a legal obligation to provide competent medical attention that meets the “medical standard of care.” This standard of care is defined as the level of care that a reasonably skilled medical professional of similar education and training would have provided in similar circumstances. For example, consider a scenario in which an infant passes away because the delivering doctor failed to address the fact that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. If a reasonably competent doctor of similar training would have noticed the problem with the umbilical cord and taken different steps to save the infant’s life, this may mean medical negligence has occurred.

Collecting Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case Involving Wrongful Death

If medical negligence leads to the death of a baby, a wrongful death lawsuit may help the parents receive compensation. The parents may be able to receive compensation for:

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Common Birth Injuries That Can Be Caused by Medical NegligenceGiving birth to a child is one of the most miraculous experiences that a person can have. Sadly, some births do not go as planned. Research shows that about seven out of every 1000 births results in a birth injury. Some of these birth injuries are unavoidable. Others, however, are the result of negligence or wrongdoing by a doctor, nurse, or another medical professional. When medical malpractice causes an infant to be seriously injured, the results can be devastating.

Babies With Certain Risk Factors Are Most Likely to Be Injured During Birth

Infants are more likely to be injured during birth when medical devices such as a vacuum extractor or forceps are used. Some of these injuries are only superficial cuts and bruises but others, such as intracranial hemorrhages, can cause serious, long-term damage. Babies are also more likely to suffer injury if they:

  • Are born prematurely
  • Are very large
  • Have a breech presentation
  • Experience excessive traction or rotation during delivery

However, birth injuries can still occur even when no risk factors are present.

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Can Cerebral Palsy Be Linked to Medical Malpractice?Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a congenital disorder that affects an individual’s muscle movement, tone, and posture. Because it hinders the body’s ability to move in a coordinated manner, people that are diagnosed with CP may need assistance with bodily functions such as breathing, eating, and motor skills. Since CP is often caused by brain damage that occurred either before or during a child’s birth, early detection can help parents establish a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you suspect that a doctor, nurse, physician, or medical staff member acted negligently during your pregnancy or at the time of birth, it is important to speak with an experienced birth injury attorney.

What Can Cause Cerebral Palsy?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CP is the most common motor disability found in children. Although the explanation of CP is not always known, there are several causes that can be linked to the disorder, such as:

  • Genetic illness
  • Low birth weight
  • Untreated jaundice
  • Premature birth
  • A stroke in the womb or after birth
  • Lack of oxygen reaching the brain
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Medical problems faced by the mother during pregnancy

The failure of medical professionals to act accordingly throughout pregnancy or the birthing process can also lead to CP. For instance, if infections or changes in heart rate go undetected, the doctor or nurse may be held liable. Furthermore, the careless actions of a medical staff member may lead to CP. Improper tool use, medication errors, or administrative mistakes can be linked to medical malpractice.

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Three Common Medical Errors Every Patient Should be Aware OfWhile medical malpractice is nowhere near a new issue in the healthcare industry, many media reports and study findings within the last few years have surfaced among the general public, bringing attention to seemingly more medical errors in the community than ever before. In recent years, experts from John Hopkins University shared findings from data that spanned over an eight-year period, revealing that more than 250,000 deaths per year have been attributed to medical error in the U.S. Researchers emphasized that a majority of these errors point to systematic errors, such as poorly coordinated care, problems within insurance networks, and the lack of or underuse of proper protocols. Whatever the source responsible for any given medical error, however, thousands of patients have been and continue to be seriously affected by negligence in the medical community.

The Most Common Causes of Medical Malpractice

The medical community is vast, with a variety of different kinds of medical malpractice cases, but these top three forms of medical error are some of the most notorious in the news today: 

  1. Medication errors: An astounding number of reports – more than 100,000 – make their way to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) each year, suspecting pharmacy medication errors. Whether the pharmacy applies an incorrect label on your prescription bottle, fills the wrong medication, or dispenses the wrong dosage on behalf of the doctor’s instructions, medication errors frequently occur, causing all kinds of problems for unsuspecting patients. Many patients are unaware of the error and go on to take the incorrect dose or medication until long after the problem is discovered, or they experience serious side effects that alert them to the fact that something is wrong. One of the best ways to protect yourself from this risk is to research the medication you are prescribed thoroughly and to do before you even pick up your prescription at the pharmacy. Be proactive, discuss the details of your medicine with your doctor, as well as the pharmacist, and do not be afraid to ask questions.
  2. Misdiagnosis: Another error that occurs all too often is the misdiagnosis of a condition. At times, misdiagnosis may not necessarily be a matter of receiving an incorrect diagnosis directly from a doctor, but instead being attributed with an incorrect condition due to the wrong diagnosis code attributed to your record. Faulty communication, both written and verbal, can create serious discrepancies in the documentation of your health care. These kinds of errors can also trickle down into your insurance records, further complicating matters. Protect yourself from misdiagnosis by researching your symptoms, talking about them in-depth with your doctor, taking notes and asking questions, and most of all, not hesitating to seek out another opinion if something does not feel right.
  3. Missed diagnosis: A missed diagnosis all together can be just as dangerous as an incorrect diagnosis given. Whether your doctor diagnosed you with a condition too late or not at all, if you discover what was wrong later on, perhaps under the care of another provider, you may be the victim of faulty medical practice. Being an advocate for your own health is one of your best defenses against these kinds of errors. 

Contact an Orland Park Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you find you have become another medical malpractice statistic and are experiencing symptoms of injury, it is critical to speak with a skilled, knowledgeable DuPage County personal injury lawyer, who can evaluate your case, protect your rights, and advocate for your health and wellbeing. Schedule a free consultation today by calling Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000. 

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Orland Park birth injuries attorneysThe main concern with every birth is getting the baby out safely, but the mother’s health also must be observed carefully. According to a recent report by USA Today, the preventable deaths of mothers during childbirth are on the rise in the country.

The report notes that one of the main causes of mothers’ deaths is hemorrhaging, or rapid blood loss that would go untreated by the hospital staff. Of these cases, 90 percent were avoidable, according to report, which means they could provide the basis for medical malpractice lawsuits.

Frightening Numbers

The report concluded that approximately 700 mothers die in childbirth a year across the country (15 per 10,000 births in Illinois from 2012-16), and at least half of them could have been saved if the mothers had been given better attention. These numbers are rising from year to year while other countries continue to reduce the death rate of mothers.

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Will County medical malpractice lawyerWhen you go to a doctor or other medical professional, you hope that they will be able to accurately diagnosis and treat your aliment. An inaccurate diagnosis can result in a sick patient not getting essential treatment or receiving unneeded medical treatment which worsens their condition.

While no medical professional is perfect, there are some instances of misdiagnosis which are so egregious they are considered medical negligence. If you suffered due to a misdiagnosis or a loved one passed away because of complications related to a misdiagnosis, you may have a valid personal injury claim.

What Makes a Misdiagnosis an Example of Medical Malpractice?

Doctors, nurses, specialists, and other medical professionals cannot always immediately know what is wrong with a patient. The human body is unbelievably complex, and it is understandable that a doctor may consider several diagnoses before arriving at a conclusion. A diagnostic mistake by itself is therefore not enough to sustain a medical negligence claim. In order to bring a successful medical malpractice claim, patients must prove the following:

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Cook County medical malpractice lawyer anesthesiology error injurySurgery with anesthesia always poses some risks to the patient. Many patients choose to proceed with a surgery even after being informed of the risk that the surgery might not have the desired results, because the consequences of not having the surgery are equally dire. Injuries and deaths can happen even when the surgical team does everything right according to current medical standards and best practices. Thus, not every injury resulting from a surgical procedure can be claimed as medical malpractice. However, if you or a loved one have suffered a significant personal injury or wrongful death with substantial financial damages as the result of medical incompetence or negligence during a surgery with anesthesia, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Risk Factors for Surgery with Anesthesia

Certain health factors can increase the risks of anesthesia, including:

  • Obesity can make it harder to determine the correct dosage of anesthetic to administer and to ensure that a patient receives enough oxygen.
  • Age-related conditions such as cardiac disease, prior stroke, clogged arteries, and high blood pressure can increase the risk of complications during surgery.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea and other conditions that affect breathing can cause a dangerous loss of oxygen during surgery, which could result in brain damage or death.

Prior to any surgery, your surgeon and anesthesiologist should conduct a careful assessment of your health to identify specific risks and ways to mitigate those risks. If the surgical team fails to account for all relevant health conditions when planning and performing the surgery, you could have a valid claim for compensation for damages incurred.

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Cook County chiropractor injury attorneyWhen you think about suing a doctor for medical malpractice, the specialties that first come to mind are probably surgeons, obstetricians, or other medical providers. However, any state-licensed medical or “healing arts” professional, including chiropractors, naprapaths, acupuncturists, and nurse-anesthetists, can be sued for negligence resulting in serious injury to a patient 

Examples of Chiropractic Malpractice

Because chiropractors often manipulate or adjust the spine and neck, it is possible for a patient’s existing injuries to be made significantly worse or even for new injuries to occur. Examples of malpractice by a chiropractor include:

  • Failure to obtain a thorough patient history and perform a proper examination prior to treatment, resulting in a treatment inappropriate given the patient’s pre-existing conditions that causes serious additional injury to the patient.
  • Negligence in performing manipulations, such as using too much force, which can result in a herniated disk, nerve damage leading to paralysis, or arterial damage leading to stroke.
  • Misdiagnosis of the cause of pain, resulting in delayed treatment of the patient for the true problem. 

Examples of Acupuncture Risks and Practitioner Negligence 

Negligence in the practice of acupuncture can lead to serious injury or even death. Three common ways that an acupuncturist might be found negligent include:

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Oak Lawn medical malpractice lawyer prescription drug errorMedication side effects are a leading cause of injury and death in children, leading to roughly 200,000 emergency room visits per year. However, before you accuse your child’s physician of medical malpractice, remember that you play an important role in helping to avoid medication errors that could hurt your child.

14.7 Million U.S. Children Are at Risk for Medication Errors

A recent study reported that 20 percent of U.S. children take at least one prescription medication, putting them at risk for dangerous side effects. The more medications a child takes, the greater the risk of drug interactions and adverse events. An estimated 5 percent of all U.S. children regularly take two or more prescription drugs, and roughly 8 percent of them are at risk for major drug interactions that could have serious side effects. 

Teens on Antidepressants Have Greatest Risk for Drug Interactions

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), run under the auspices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), examines 5,000 people per year. A recent review of data collected by this survey found that teenage girls taking antidepressant medications are at the highest risk for drug interactions.

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Orland Park medical malpractice attorneyWhen you are sick or injured, you trust doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers to care for you. The responsibility that medical professionals have to their patients is like no other profession. When a hospital or medical professional makes a mistake, the results can be catastrophic. Tragically, medical mistakes and negligence are increasingly prevalent problems that leave thousands injured or killed every year.

Medical Errors Now Account for a Staggering Number of Deaths

The Latin phrase “Primum non noceere” which means, “First, do no harm,” is often recited by physicians as a promise to uphold their responsibility to keep patients safe from injury. Unfortunately, this promise is not always kept. Most people are aware that there are instances when medical professionals fail to do the job they have a sworn duty to do but have no idea how prevalent the problem really is. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that medical negligence—instances when health professionals cause injury to a patients—is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer kill more Americans than medical malpractice. Many of the victims of medical negligence seek financial compensation for their injuries. The issue is so pervasive that over $3 billion was spent in medical malpractice payouts in 2012 alone. This works out to an astounding one payout every 43 minutes.

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Orland Park medical malpractice attorney, patient informed concentMedical malpractice involves more than a physician's negligence. A doctor can be held liable if he or she fails to inform the patient about the “general nature” of a procedure and the patient is subsequently injured. Informed consent in this context includes explaining the “risks involved, the prospects of success, the prognosis if the procedure is not performed, and alternative treatments."

Court Reinstates Malpractice Claim Over Child Injured During Delivery

Informed consent often comes up when dealing with birth injuries. There are cases where a doctor fails to properly warn an expectant mother of the risks of natural childbirth. As a result, the child may be injured during delivery and suffer lifelong consequences.

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